Nearly 30,000 people victims of uninsured drivers in France in 2020

Most uninsured drivers are men under 35 on low incomes, and can face paying sums running into millions of euros if they cause road accidents

4 August 2021
One car backed up into another. Nearly 30,000 people victims of uninsured drivers in France in 2020

There were less victims in 2020 than 2019, but experts believe this is due to reduced traffic during the health crisis Pic: Scarc / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

Almost 30,000 people in France were victims of road accidents at the hands of uninsured drivers, an annual study by victims group le Fonds de garantie des victimes (FGAO) has found.

The total number of victims (27,332) has gone down 14.4% compared with 2019, but this is thought to be due to reduced traffic during the health crisis.

Of all victims in 2020, 7,984 sustained injuries and 128 died as a result of accidents.

In total, €106.3million of insurance payouts were given to victims in 2020, again falling 8% compared with 2019. 

In the study, the FGAO differentiated between drivers who had insurance coverage but whose insurers contested covering the accident, unidentified drivers who fled the scene, and uninsured drivers.

In the last group, 60% of uninsured drivers were under 35-years-old, 60% were living on low-incomes and 80% were male, the study found.

Health crisis makes it ‘difficult’ to afford insurance

Philippe Roux, director of FGAO told FranceInfo the health crisis had impacted people’s ability to pay for insurance. 

“2020 was a unique year,” he said. “The current situation could lead to people not having the means to insure themselves. Among low-income people, there are already some who do not have a choice and are in real difficulty.”

When accidents occur. non-insured parties must pay damages to victims with a 10% supplement. 

“These sums can reach several million euros”, Mr Roux said. “Not insuring yourself [as a driver] is always the wrong choice. If you have an accident the economic consequences could be long term.” 

The study found that 81% of accidents with uninsured drivers involved cars and 6% motorbikes. 

The highest number of accidents happened on local roads (50.7%) followed by B roads (33.7%).

The FGAO issued a reminder that legally all vehicles must be insured in France in order to protect third party victims.

Drivers caught without insurance face fines of €750, but legal fines can go up to €7,500 with additional charges for repeat offenders.

Mr Roux added: “Insurance in France is some of the cheapest in Europe. We need everybody to take action to insist on the fact that getting insured is essential.”

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